Wednesday, Jun 3, 2015Wednesday, Jun 3, 2015

Too early to hail China Model as a success

Published on Jun 4, 2014 6:46 AM

When the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ordered troops to crush the student demonstration at Tiananmen Square 25 years ago, many thought that a regime that opened fire on its own people would not survive for long.

Seasoned political scientist Yan Jiaqi, well-known writer Liu Binyan and student leader Wang Dan all shared this view, which gained ground with the subsequent fall of the former Soviet-bloc countries.

I argued then that China would not follow in Eastern Europe's footsteps. This was because the reform and open-door policy introduced by the CCP since 1978 had eased to a very great extent the pressures that could lead to a regime collapse.

On the economic front, crippling shortages had turned to abundance in a matter of years. In 1981, for instance, all daily necessities, from food to cloth to soap and oil, were rationed, and each family had to get a booklet for different kinds of coupons.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!